Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 111 pages) : PDF file, illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Graeme R Newman

Committee Members

Martin Gottschalk, Alan J Lizotte, Janet P Stamatel, Terence P Thornberry


delinquency, evolution, mating, selection, sex, violence, Sexual selection, Sex customs, Sex (Psychology), Parental influences

Subject Categories

Criminology | Evolution | Psychology


This dissertation provides an empirical exploration of Darwin's theory of sexual selection, which views the male propensity to engage in short term mating strategies--sexual promiscuity and violence--as the result of sexual selection. Within an environmental context, biological father and mother household presence are expected to inhibit the initiation of short-term mating strategies and increase parental investment--paternal and maternal attachments, supervision, and protection. Whereas, structural disadvantage--living in poverty and in dangerous neighborhoods--is predicted to increase the initiation of a short-term mating strategies and compromise the parents' ability to protect their children and by weakening paternal and maternal attachments, thereby increasing the likelihood of adopting short-term mating strategies. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health's Public Use home interviews (n=4834) were used to examine illustrative hypotheses. The household presence of the biological mother and father were found to inhibit the initiation of short-term mating strategies and increase parental investment. Controlling for initial involvement in sexual promiscuity and violence, violent males and victimized females were more likely to be involved in subsequent sexual promiscuity.